Match: Gujarat Titans vs Rajasthan Royals, Qualifier 1, Tuesday, 24 May 2022
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Time: 7:30 pm (IST)
Watch: Star Sports Network | Disney+ Hotstar
Qualifier 1 of the 2022 TATA Indian Premier League brings us live action from Eden Gardens in Kolkata for the clash between the Gujarat Titans and the Rajasthan Royals.
The Gujarat Titans secured the first spot on the table well before they had played all their matches with 20 points, thanks to their consistent performances throughout the tournament. The Royals, on the other hand, claimed the second spot in their last league match, ending their league stage with 18 points.
This encounter between the Gujarat Titans and the Rajasthan Royals is Qualifier 1, the winner of which will directly secure a spot in the 2022 TATA IPL Final. The losing team in this fixture will still have a shot at glory and will play against the winner of Eliminator to grab a spot in the Final.
The GT are coming into this game having finished the league stage top of the table, losing just four out of their fourteen league games. As one of the two debutants of this season, they have done extremely well with their balanced squad and brave-heart performances. However, they do come into this match off the back of a loss sustained against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Batting first, the Titans posted a total of 168, with their captain Hardik Pandya playing a crucial knock. To their dismay, the otherwise out-of-form Virat Kohli rose to the occasion for Bangalore and scored a brilliant 73 off 54 balls to keep his team’s Playoffs hopes alive.
The Rajasthan Royals, on the other hand, finished the league stage in the second position, ahead of the Lucknow Super Giants. With a mix of young talent and experience both in their batting and bowling departments, Rajasthan have played extremely well and have deservingly achieved their place in Qualifier 1. They come into this match off the back of a victory over the Chennai Super Kings, during which their bowling department did a spectacular job in restricting Chennai to a total of 150. Ravichandran Ashwin was the star of the game as he dragged his team to victory with a splendid 40-run knock off just 23 balls.
This is the first time that a match is being played anywhere other than Pune and Mumbai in this edition of the IPL. Eden Gardens is a bliss for the batters as well as the spinners. According to the weather forecast, it is expected to rain. Whether it will rain or for how long it will play evil is something that we will have to witness. An average score of 160 is expected here. Teams batting first have an added advantage at this pitch.
Probable playing XIs
Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Matthew Wade, Hardik Pandya (c), David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, R Sai Kishore, Mohammed Shami, Yash Dayal, Lockie Ferguson
Bench: Vijay Shankar, Sai Sudharshan, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Pradeep Sangwan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Dominic Drakes, Darshan Nalkande, Noor Ahmad, Varun Aaron, Abhinav Manohar, Alzarri Joseph
Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Devdutt Padikkal, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Obed McCoy, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal
Bench: Navdeep Saini, Rassie van der Dussen, KC Cariappa, Daryl Mitchell, Tejas Baroka, Kuldip Yadav, Anunay Singh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Dhruv Jurel, Shubham Garhwal, Karun Nair, Kuldeep Sen, James Neesham
Matches played: 1 Gujarat Titans: 1 | Rajasthan Royals : 0
The two teams only faced each other once in the league stage. The Titans posted a massive score of 192 runs, of which 87 runs were scored by their captain and eventual Player of the Match, Hardik Pandya. Jos Buttler was the only standout batter for Rajasthan, who failed to chase the total and ended up with just 155 runs on the board.
Batter to watch out for: Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler has been exceptional throughout the tournament and is the leading run scorer with 629 runs. He has failed to perform well in his recent matches, though, and will be keen on rising to the occasion to help his team secure a spot in the Final. The current Orange Cap holder will surely be the Captain of my fantasy squad.
Bowler to watch out for: Yuzvendra Chahal
Eden Gardens has proven to be a pitch that supports the spinners well. Chahal, the current Purple Cap holder with 26 wickets, has been Rajasthan’s go-to bowler in difficult situations. He will be looking to extend his lead of two wickets over Wanindu Hasaranga in the race for the Purple Cap. He will also be hopeful of giving his best performance to secure his team a spot in the Final.
Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (wk), Shubham Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya (c), Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Shami, Trent Boult, Ravichandran Ashwin
Although the history of their previous encounter supports the Gujarat Titans in this fixture, Rajasthan will be looking to take revenge for the big loss they suffered against them and also will be hoping to secure their spot in the Final, so that their key players are well-rested for the occasion. With the balance of talent, experience and top performers in both bowling and batting departments in their squad, I predict the Rajasthan Royals to emerge victorious in Qualifier 1.